“Governor Murphy is spot on in calling for a stronger and fairer New Jersey. His Administration’s incentives audit last week shines a bright light on crony capitalism and corporate welfare that fails to serve the best interests of most New Jerseyans. The audit is a great example how progress has been made in the past year, but so much more still needs to be done.
“This is especially true when it comes to the environment where the state of the state is not strong … from the climate crisis and lead in drinking water to Christie era rollbacks of clean water protections and disinvestment in NJ Transit.
“Governor Murphy has embarked on a strong clean energy road but it is riddled with potholes from cost caps on solar but not nuclear to a dozen pending dirty fossil fuel projects. It is imperative the Legislature supports and the Administration stays on track for the release early this year of revisions to NJ’s Energy Master Plan that puts us on a path to a 100% clean energy economy by 2050 with strong interim benchmarks without approving any new frack gas plants, pipelines and compressor stations before or in conflict with that plan.
“There is a direct correlation between pollution from greenhouse gas emissions, extreme weather, the destruction of people’s homes, death and disease. Moving to clean and green will not only protect public health and private property but also grow the ‘Stronger, Fairer New Jersey’ economy and create the better jobs that Governor Murphy has rightfully been calling for.
“That’s environmental justice and the Legislature and Murphy Administration would be well-served to expound on EO23 by amending and moving S1700 (Singleton/Weinberg) to afford protections for low income and of color communities that are disproportionately impacted by fossil fuel costs, pollution, and frontline community impacts.
“A stronger and fairer New Jersey also ensures the wealthiest among us pay their fair share in taxes so working and middle-class families can keep more of their hard earned money. Progress was made in the first year but additional investment in, and ending raids on, NJ Transit, the Clean Energy Fund and lead pollution mitigation are critical for New Jersey to become still stronger and fairer.
“These raids aren’t the only hangover left from the Christie era. Rollbacks of clean water rules and antithetical appointments to the Pinelands Commission and Highlands Council remain unresolved at the same time plastic pollution is snowballing. The Administration and Legislature must work together to undo these rollbacks, strengthen these rules further, make appointments consistent with agency missions, and pass S2776/A4330 (Smith, Greenstein, Pinkin, Kennedy, McKeon + 3) to make New Jersey a leader in responsible management of plastics.
“As the Governor said in his inaugural address: ‘New Jersey once was a national model for protecting the environment and growing an economy fueled by innovation and ideas. We can once again be the state that leads the nation in progressive policies and puts common sense and our residents first in line.’
“That leadership wasn’t lost overnight and it can’t be restored overnight. The governor charted a course in 2018 and now it’s time to accelerate on his commitments to get there.”
Clean Water Action has more than 150,000 members statewide in New Jersey and is the nation’s largest grassroots group focused on water, energy and environmental health. Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration and Congress. www.cleanwater.org/nj